What’s a User to Do About False News?

In Misleading Information On

What’s a User to Do About False News?

Facebook allows you to report suspicious stories you see in your news feed, but you can also reach out directly to whoever posted the link.
The New York Times

Q. What is Facebook doing to stop misinformation from spreading? And if I see a fake news article in my news feed, how do I report it?

A. Facebook began stepping up its efforts to combat the spread of false information and hoaxes late last year in a number of ways, including working with third-party fact-checkers who adhere to a set of standard principles to flag disputed articles. The site is also tweaking its algorithms and providing tools for users to report posted stories that appear to be inaccurate. This spring, the company promoted an educational page of tips for spotting suspect stories on user news feeds and took out advertisements in British newspapers to help inform the public ahead of that country’s general election next month.

When you see a link to a story that contains blatant falsehoods, click or tap the gray menu arrow in the top-right corner of the post. In the menu that drops down, select Report Post. A box appears with the headline “Help Us Understand What’s Happening.”

In the “What’s going on?” section of the box, select “It’s a false news story” and click Continue. On the next screen, Facebook offers a set of options, including “Mark this post as false news.” You can block the person who posted the story or its original website from appearing in your news feed.

You can also report objectionable photos, harassing messages and other bad behavior to Facebook. The details for doing so are on the company’s “How to Report Things” page in its Help Center.

When you report something, Facebook does not automatically take down the item. Facebook reviews your complaint and decides if the offending post violates its own Community Standards rules on hate speech and other behavior. You can check on the status of your report in your Support Inbox (found at https://www.facebook.com/support) on the site.

Personal Tech invites questions about computer-based technology to [email protected]. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.

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